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Welcome back for a new technical lesson in the Learn to Machine Sew series! One thing that makes the difference between projects that look homemade and those that look professionally-made is how well they are finished inside. There are quite a few ways to cleanly finish the seam allowances in your work, and today I’m going to focus on one technique that is really easy and looks great. And once you know how to sew French seams, you’ll be able to use them for great looking bags, clothing and more!
Here you can see four of the most frequently-used finishes for inside seams. Cutting the seam allowances with pinking shears is fast and easy and reduces the amount of fabric fraying, however doesn’t look particularly nice. Sewing over the edges with an overlock machine (serger) or, if you don’t have that type of sewing machine, a zig zag stitch, is definitely better.
But two of my favorite ways to finish off seams for a perfectly clean finish are felled seams and French seams. Both of these techniques enclose the raw fabric edges between layers of fabric so that not only will they not fray, but you can’t even see them!
Today I’ll show you how easy it is to sew a French seam, and you’ll be able to see for yourself how nice it looks!
Basically a French seam is a double seam that encloses the raw edges between them. The seam allowance sticks up, as you can see in the picture above, but once you get good a sewing these seams, you can make them relatively small so that they will be less noticeable.
Are you ready to find out how to sew a French seam so that you can take your sewing to the next level? Well, then, let’s get started!
1. Cut and press two rectangles of fabric. It doesn’t matter how big they are, but do make sure that each piece has at least one straight edge of the same length. I suggest practicing with a quilting cotton.
2. Place the fabric pieces together, wrong sides facing, and pin one long side.
3. Sew down 1 cm from the edge.
4. Trim the seam allowance to less than 5 mm from the stitching.
5. Flip the fabric pieces so that they are right sides facing and the seam allowance is hidden inside the fold and press well.
6. Sew down 1 cm from the fold.
7. Flip the fabric pieces again so that they are wrong sides facing and press if desired.
And you’re done! Wasn’t that fast and easy?
On the right side of the fabric, it looks like any normal type of stitching would, but on the wrong side of the fabric, the seam allowance is perfectly clean and there is not a raw fabric edge in sight!
Now grab some fabric scraps to practice on and then come back next week to learn how to sew a super useful household item with a lovely French seam finish inside!
This lesson on how to sew French seams is part of the syllabus of Cucicucicoo’s Learn to Machine Sew beginner’s sewing course! Don’t forget to share pictures of your work on Facebook or the Cucicucicoo Creations Flickr Group!
Don’t forget to Pin this Post so you’ll have it when you need it!
9 thoughts on “How to sew French seams for perfectly finished seams”
I agree, French seams are lovely and make a garment look so finished on the inside.
I also love a garment with French seams! They looks so much nicer than just overlocked edges! Thanks for stopping by, Michelle!
Thank you for sharing. I love the french seams to give the garments a great polished look 🙂
Thanks, Daniela! I also love having the inside of garments geing polished, even if I’m the only one who sees that part!
Thank you for sharing, very informative.